"Does this class count as an Advanced Placement course?"
It's been a common question of my returning IT Academy students. My courses are demanding. I expect them to read and write daily, to meet online after school for concept and skills reviews, and to practice using skills that will help them in college and career. They view my Cisco Networking Academy and computer science courses as college-level, and want others to view them that way too (in addition to the grade inflation that accompanies AP courses). Unfortunately, the courses that I teach aren't a part of the core curriculum. Instead, they're seen by many as electives and therefore expendable.
They shouldn't be.
My classes offer too much opportunity for academic and professional growth to be viewed that way. The things we explore together are far too interesting, too important. In one class, we're learning how data moves from device to device, and how to build our own networks. In another, we're building Web apps while learning how to obtain feedback from users and analyze data. There is never a dull moment. Students are constantly engaged by the meaningful, hands-on experiences that my classroom provides. Why wouldn't they be? They know that what we learn matters, because my courses mimic the same online, tech-enabled world that they grew up in. What we do is immediately relevant to them.